Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cyber cafes and Upload Cafes

I blew a massive hole in my budget by using my Vodafone datacard in India to download 70MB at 1c a Kb. That's a huge load of waste for my net addiction. This could have been saved by using an internet cafe. Cyber cafes are ubiquitous in India, where household penetration of internet is low. Post Mumbai shootings, these cafes have become overcautious and if you show up even with a hint of a beard they will not let you use the machines without a full ID check (ID checks are everywhere actually - nobody believes you are who you say you are).

Moving back into another country - Australia. Internet penetration to homes and mobiles and everywhere in general is very high. The government does a lot of its business there (though I have heard of agencies which have 1 automated reply email saying they don't accept emails and provide you their physical address). Here the cyber cafe is very niche, possibly in the fragging niche in China town where people folk to play WoW and Counter Strike. The draw here is the low low lag times provided. The bandwidth is not a huge issue with gaming protocols these days since the maps are cached.

I was thinking of the business case for an upload cafe - a spot which provides high bandwidth upstream access similar to a data center - but on a casual basis. Large volume business data sharing is becoming the norm. There have been demonstrations in South Africa about the pigeon protocol being faster than the local ISP's upstream bandwidth. The download speeds in cable and adsl2+ are impressive. Yet the upstream needs a lot more work. You could choose symmetric ADSL if large uploads are your thing, but you are stuck with copper upstream on cable. I will use such a cafe to upload my hour long cooking videos to youtube or 100's of holiday photos to facebook.
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